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The witness

Free online viewing! http://www.tribeofheart.org/screeningroom 

Last Sunday I was invited by a group of animal loving people to watch the documentary The Witness ~ one man’s emotional journey to becoming an animal activist, particularly around the despicable fur industry. It was comforting to view this moving documentary with others who cared – the circulating tissues were indeed reassuring. 

Before presenting the background to The Witness, I would like to share some thoughts that were raised on Sunday.

One task of an activist is to make others conscious about the ethics of an issue. Surely, though, being aware is not enough? It is one’s conscience that ultimately drives us to try and change an injustice. 

According to Wikipedia:

  • Consciousness is the state of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentienceawarenesssubjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.
  • Conscience is defined as an aptitudefacultyintuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms. In psychological terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a human commits actions that go against his/her moral values and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when actions conform to such values.

The topic of vivisection came up and we wondered how people could torture animals in the name of science. It struck me that the word conscience is con – science i.e. against science. Those who commit atrocities in the name of science are rewarded for having no conscience. They lack compassion and justify their actions by stating that animals are not sentient beings. In this way these scientists can disconnect from the pain they inflict onto animals in the name of (hu)mankind. (Hu)man kind??

Now, back to Eddie Lama, the man who became conscious and then acted on his conscience.

eddie Lama

Eddie was a construction contractor, from tough Brooklyn, who transformed into an animal advocate. Eddie is probably the last person one would expect to be an animal activist, as he was raised with an ingrained aversion to animals. ‘Eddie avoided animals for most of his life, until the love of a kitten opened his heart, inspiring him to rescue abandoned animals and bring his message of compassion to the streets of New York’. With humor and sincerity, in the award-winning documentary, THE WITNESS (43 minutes), Eddie tells the story of his remarkable shift in consciousness (http://www.tribeofheart.org/sr/sr_witscreeningroom_english.htm).

This documentary exposes the horror of factory farming, trapping and farming wild animals for their fur.

It is truly inspirational and well worth watching!

Why I don’t Wear Fur

The following post is reblogged from Jeanhttp://jeanofalltrades.wordpress.com/Why I don’t Wear Fur. January 16, 2012 · 9:51 am

Thank you for the information Jean, but most of all, THANK YOU FOR CARINGclapping-happy-smiley-emoticon

Why I don’t Wear Fur

I usually keep this blog light. It’s not a soapbox or forum for me to rant. Fashion is fun, right? But today, I want to explain the fur-free blog badge I added to the right column of this blog. It’s subtle. This post isn’t.


Fur is a cruel, cruel industry. I’ve been to mink and fox farms, and I’ve seen firsthand the horrors that these poor creatures endure day in and day out in the name of fashion.

No one can be 100% cruelty-free or eco-friendly, no matter how hard we try. My computer is made of petrochemicals. I eat avocados knowing they were shipped thousands of miles to get to me. But fur is an easy one. I can simply avoid it. It’s an unnecessary “luxury.”

Here’s why:

It’s bad for the environment. The waste runoff from fur farms pollutes rivers and streams. Chemicals and feces are often found in waters near fur farms. Fur is natural, but in order to keep fur from decomposing like a dead squirrel on the road, it gets treated with a bevy of chemicals–from formaldehyde to ammonia. Trapping is no better. Deer, birds, dogs and cats often end up in traps meant for other animals. Plus, the ecosystem is affected when people mess with the balance of nature.

It’s cruel. Foxes are anally electrocuted before they are skinned. Mink usually have their necks broken or are injected with poison. Death is slow because their precious pelts need to be preserved. Their lives in filthy cages aren’t better. The foxes I saw were despondent. The mink ran endlessly in circles–driven insane by captivity. Mink that are free live solitary lives near water where they can travel for miles a day. Foxes are intelligent, social creatures. Watching them in the wild is amazing; seeing them suffer in cages makes me hate humanity.

catAlice looks good in fur

From beavers, chinchillas, and mink, to rabbits, seals, and even dogs and cats, millions of animalsneedlessly suffer. There are no laws protecting fur-bearing animals. If you’re unconvinced, check outthis video. If you wear fur you need to see it so you know where fur comes from. If you just wear “a little” like fur trim, remember that no amount is humane. Animals die all the same.

The good news is, fur is completely avoidable. If you think suffering and death is too high a price to pay for fashion, you’ve got choices.

First, you can support retailers and designers who don’t use fur. There are hundreds! From Stella McCartney to H&M, you’ll find something stylish that isn’t cruel. Here’s the fur-free list. If you’re buying faux fur, make sure it really is faux. Sometimes, real fur from China is labelled fauxbecause so many people aren’t buying real fur and it’s cheaper to use the real deal.

If you really like the look of fur, visit Fabulous Furs, an online shop devoted entirely to high-end faux fur items, from pillows and throws to full-length coats.

If you’re concerned about the synthetics used in the making of faux fur, well, then don’t wear tennis shoes or lip gloss! They’re made with synthetics too. If you truly want an eco wardrobe, you probably aren’t wearing fur (real or faux). You’re most likely into alternatives like hemp and bamboo or recycled plastics like the ones Patagonia and Nulethics are working with.

Vote with your dollars. Fur sales are on the decline. Let your favorite retailers know that you don’t support fur and you won’t support them if they carry fur. You can be cool without being cruel.

If you have fur you can donate it. My mom and I were always sad that her mother wore fur. Oma was a wonderful person but never connected the dots regarding where her fur came from. The soft, wavy Persian lamb coat was once a fetus that was ripped from its mother’s womb. Two lives lost for a collar on a coat. We donated the coat to a wildlife center that uses them to line the beds of orphaned animals. It’s a nice way to give back to animals and keep fur (even vintage coats) from being fashion statements.

I wrote this post to educate and inform. I want to share my concerns–the things that keep me up at night and the images that haunt me. I want to increase the circle of compassion. So where do you stand on the fur issue? How do you incorporate ethics into your fashion choices?


IF YOU LIKE THE LOOK OF FUR: Please make sure it is fake

Real vs Faux

FURRY TOYS FOR PETS: You never know

This is  XAVI (Named after a famous Spanish football player) and his new “Happy Holidays”  toy.


Ono, you might groan. Not only has she anthropomorphized her cat so that he has to have good ball skills, but Emy has succumbed to consumerism. Well yes, I have to plead guilty on both accounts.

For an interesting discussion on Vegans and cats check out this post on Lee Hall’s blog @  http://veganplace.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/speaking-of-pets/

However, by buying this plastic toy I know that there is no real fur component. Fur products do not only extend to garments but also form part of the trinket market – furry pet toys included.  PET TOYS 

Anti-fur organisations have done tests – what might appear as synthetic fur could be dyed cat or dog fur, particularly if the toy comes from China. A good test is to burn the fur, as real fur has a distinctive smell of hair. This might not go down well in your local pet shop so it is important to always ask from where something is sourced. To be on the safe side, rather don’t buy furry pet toys!  For cats, there are great fabric toys often filled with catnip. I know my cats only stay with us for the catnip 😀

Oh no, another misdemeanour – encouraging catnip addiction. 

Please sign the following petition:

Ban fur trinkets:


CRUELTY IS A CHOICE: Just don’t do it



ANIMAL ETHICS: An international court


                                                                           CENTRE FOR ANIMAL ETHICSclapping-happy-smiley-emoticon
About the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics

~~~ The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, founded in 2006 by its director Professor Andrew Linzey, is an independent Centre with the aim of pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic, research, teaching and publication. The Centre has more than 70 Fellows drawn from a variety of academic disciplines from throughout the world. For more information about the Centre and its Fellows please see its website at  www.oxfordanimalethics.com. ~~~

PRESS RELEASE:                                                                            30 December 2013

There should be an international court to try cases of animal cruelty, says Oxford ethicist

Humanitarian organizations worldwide should collaborate in setting up an international court to judge cases of animal cruelty and specifically to assess the culpability of governments”, says Oxford ethicist Professor Andrew Linzey, Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

“Individuals and groups should be able to bring cases before the court where governments have failed to take reasonable steps to prevent systematic and widespread occurrence of cruelty to animals. The court would consist of eminent humanitarians drawn from the legal and veterinary professions, together with ethicists, philosophers, theologians, and those accomplished in anti-cruelty work worldwide.”

“Although animal protection is obviously a matter of global concern, animal protectionists have sometimes been slow in recognizing this fact and have contented themselves with working on an issue-by-issue, country-by-country basis. But what this approach neglects is the need for international strategies to tackle what are global problems.”

The call is made in Professor Linzey’s Introduction to The Global Guide to Animal Protection published today by the University of Illinois Press.

“Government and industries found guilty (or who fail to participate in the hearings) would be named and shamed and placed on a register. Like Amnesty International’s published list of countries that allow torture, the register would focus attention not only on the distressing fact of cruelty itself, but also on the culpability of governments and industries in justifying and supporting cruelty”.

The Global Guide to Animal Protection is the result of collaboration between the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, a world-wide association of academics from all disciplines, and the University of Illinois Press.  Raising awareness of human indifference and cruelty toward animals, The Global Guide includes more than 180 introductory articles that survey the extent of worldwide human exploitation of animals from a variety of perspectives.

The Global Guide to Animal Protection is published in both the UK and USA on 30 December and is available from http://bit.ly/1kPNYUm USD95 (cloth) and USD27 (paper).


Too small end a c

RIGHTS ACROSS THE AGES: Worth fighting for

To those who say that I am wasting my time.

Every right has been won by dedication, conviction and hard work:


FOR THE SEALS: Please sign



1) This is to thank the World Trade Organisation for upholding the European ban on seal products  clapping-happy-smiley-emoticon.


2) 86,000 baby seals are butchered each year in Namibia for fur company Hatem Yavuz based in Australia and Turkey. The following petition asks this company to stop this atrocity.


3) The petition below requests CITES to protect the Cape Fur Seals in Namibia. For information on the Namibian seal hunt please see my previous post:    https://emynow.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/seals-of-namibia-a-club-to-avoid/ 

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Give_the_Cape_Fur_Seal_the_protection_it_deserves/?siQUcdb                                                              Give the Cape Fur Seal the protection it deserves

4) Please follow this link to find additional petitions on Nancy’s blog.

Graphic Images And Video: Namibia; Hatem Yavuz is the King of Seal Killers (nackpets.wordpress.com)


VAUTE COUTURE: Ethically cool

My family has recovered from my comment,“now that I am an animal rights activist my grooming is going to slide”. This statement was not an indictment on the dress taste of AR activists but rather my intention to fully dedicate my time to animal rights work. So my husband saved me from myself by buying me some really cool anti-fur tops from Vaute Couture

Spelled for Haute Couture with a V for Vegan, but said like VOTE —VAUTE is an independent fashion house run by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart. Leanne gave up her modelling career to develop “cruelty-free fashion that’s way better than wearing animals ever could be”. Their clothes might be more expensive than our local Mister Price but, hey, they not made in China and make a fabulous gift. Tee shirts, as seen below, are part of their ware.

Tee shirtNever fur

Vaute Couture
VautcoutureNo! This lovely lady, in another cool top, is not me. She is Jane Halevy ~ a true role model to anti-fur activists ~ of the International Anti-Fur Coalition (IAFC).                                              furbidden

The IAFC operates worldwide, working to end the atrocities of the fur industry. For example, IAFC campaigned alongside animal rights organisations in Israel to ban fur in Israel. Jane argued, “this legislation will save millions of innocent animals from being slaughtered for a needless twisted fashion”.

IAFC also have the Fur is Red and Furbidden campaigns.

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